WASHINGTON, January 31, 2011 – The World Bank today announced that it has opened public voting on the applications submitted to the Apps for Development Competition, a challenge issued to software developers by the World Bank to get new perspectives in identifying solutions to development problems. The Popular Choice Award will be determined by public vote and the winner will receive a cash award and a feature on the World Bank website.
World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick called for the Apps for Development competition “to create applications to analyze and tackle some of the world's long-standing problems.” The competition is part of the Bank’s Open Data Initiative, which last year released for free and for the first time the Bank’s catalogue of development data. “We look forward to seeing how others’ innovations can help us move toward a world free of poverty,” said Zoellick.
Applications were submitted from 36 countries across every continent; more than half came from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The apps use a wide variety of World Bank data, including information about health, the environment, children out of school, agricultural land data, gender statistics, population growth, and mortality rate, among other datasets. The 107 apps came in response to the World Bank’s global call for apps in October to help find solutions to today's development challenges and to raise awareness of the Millennium Development Goals.
The 107 eligible entries are now available for use, review and voting on the Apps for Development website through February 28, 2011. The apps created range from SMS services to apps for an iPhone, and include games aimed at children, as well as educational and statistical modeling tools. The winners will be announced at the joint World Bank/International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings in April.
“It’s inspiring to see nearly one third of the apps coming from Africa, and that software developers and development professionals around the world are applying their skills to address development challenges,” said Aleem Walji, Head of the Bank’s Innovation Practice, “Now we’re inviting people to come be the judge and vote for their favorite app.”
Aside from the Popular Choice Award, an expert judging panel will select winners for the First, Second, and Third Prizes, five Honorable Mentions, and a Large Organization Recognition Award. The expert judging panel includes such technology gurus as Craig Newmark of Craigslist, Kannan Pashupathy from Google, and Ory Okolloh, co-founder of Ushahidi. Apps were also submitted by large technology companies, although these cannot be considered for prizes.
“We hope that people from all around the world will come to the Application Gallery to see all the wonderful ways that free World Bank data are being used to help reduce poverty,” said Shaida Badiee, Director of the World Bank's Development Data Group.